BLAKE : Jubilee. (https://thisisblake.bandcamp.com/album/jubilee)
Not to be confused with the acapella group of the same name, this Beatles and Dylan-influenced artist probably pre-dates them (this being his thirteenth album). The album has a glorious late 60s pop (especially Liverpool) feel to it – jangling guitars (only gently processed), gentle melodies, guitar figures, odd effects, etc. It only really lacks harmonies on every chorus to make you wonder when it was recorded (and the fact that the recording quality is so much better, of course). More recently, I’d compare the overall sound to the Lightning Seeds. Nothing speaks of the influences more that “Going Back To Liverpool”, a song set in the Beatles era (released on the 35th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, so the influences are deliberate). The opening instrumental (“Atonement”) is an odd choice as it’s not really indicative of the CD – I’d have preferred it as a coda, really, although it certainly made me sit up and take notice. Lyrically, Blake deals with issues of faith, politics and love (both good and when it goes wrong). All of them are done in a gentle melodic style that has enough interest to make sure you listen to it rather than let it flow past you. If you did let it just go past, then you’d miss stories such as on “Fifteen” – about illegal abduction and forced detention. The musical style means that the subject matter creeps up on you so it takes a while to realise what you’re hearing. Much better is the Dylan-styled (complete with harmonica solo) “Dignity” telling of someone forced to rely on the state and the injustices of the social
reforms – here the musical style makes you listen to the lyrics from the start. The album ends in a more uplifting style, “Set You Free” telling of how Jesus came to set us free (the clue’s in the title…). I enjoyed this album and am sure it’s one I’ll return to. Best track: “Going Back To Liverpool”.
7/10 Paul Ganney.